noun: a small piece or amount of something, esp. one that is left over after the greater part has been used.
synonyms: noun: fragment - piece - bit - shred

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Let Them Eat Cake...

Just out of the oven.  This will look
 better when the cake
is leveled correctly.
Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm! How was everyone's week? Hopefully it was a really good one!  Mine was busy and went fairly quick so that was a plus! Can't complain about that, right? RIGHT!!!  Usually four-day work weeks are pretty slow because you're off your game, but I'm so glad this one wasn't.  I had a lot to do!

Crumb coated and ready for filling
and frosting.

Remember in my last post that I mentioned I was working on the cake for my stepson's wedding reception?  Well, that's kind of an understatement. Actually, I worked steadily for two weeks on it (every evening) to make sure I could have it done the way it should be. Yes, there were a couple of snafus on the way that made me seriously think about shooting my eyeballs out but, thankfully, that didn't happen!  What was scary was that I had never made a wedding cake before.  Of course I've made cakes and cupcakes and desserts, and when my kids were little, I did tons of those shaped cakes.  Those types of things were easy.  Even the shaped ones, because I always did the star shape for the frosting since that's all I knew.  No one cared though, because I had different colors and there were bunnies, balls, trucks, etc.  And they were fun.  Even though the only shape for the frosting was using that star tip, they were just plain fun.

The start of the Bavarian Cream.
Flash forward to now, when the last cake I actually star-tip decorated was for my 26-year old's eighth birthday.  Um, yes, it's been just a little bit of time in between.  Holy cake eating, Batman!  So, for two weeks straight I've been in that kitchen (which now looks like a cyclone came through several times) baking, freezing, and picking up broken cake pieces.  Yeah, there were a few of those.  For example, the FIRST one. I decided to bake the largest layers first to get them out of the way, but the very first one didn't exactly come out of the pan in good condition.  And by that, I mean it swooshed out all over the counter and broke into what seemed like a bazillion pieces.  Which, of course, upset me.  And then I laughed because, seriously, this is WHAT HAPPENS TO ME.  Every time.  It's like a curse.  I just took those pieces and shoved them into my lasagna pan so hubby could eat it.  Good thing the kids chose white cake, cuz that's his favorite and I knew there would be no problem with it disappearing.  He loves cake and it doesn't have to be in one piece!  Yay for hubby!  LOL!  

Cooling of Bavarian Cream before
adding final heavy whipping
Now, never having done a wedding cake before, I wanted it to be as perfect as I could get it.  I researched several recipes and websites, blogs and books so that I would at least have an appearance of knowing what the heck I was doing.  The more I read, the more it scared me. What is this crumb coating thing? Who the heck uses dowels in their cakes? WHAT DO YOU MEAN THIS FROSTING IS BETTER "SUITED" THAN THIS ONE?  Oh my gosh, who thought it would be that complex? Not me, that's for sure.  But I had committed and I was not backing out.  Some say that's brave; I say it's stupid. STOOPID, do you hear me?  What in batter's name was I thinking?  All I can say is that I'm so very glad that I had the presence of mind to research.  I truly did not know that there were "inside" steps to making the end result beautiful.  But, I want you to know, I followed those suggestions and there is no denying that they made all the difference. I'll never look at cake making the same.  

1-1/2 cups sugar and 6 egg whites; the
beginning of
Wedding Cake Meringue.
I started out with baking all of the cakes so that I could get them in the freezer and have the peace of mind knowing they were ready for me to start decorating. There is a great comfort in knowing that, I've found. Just the thought of realizing they are finished, with no more accidents of falling out of the pan, cracking (which happened to a couple of them) and that I don't have to try and hurry because I shirked my duty and wasted my time thinking it would all be ok in the end.  That, my friends, was a huge relief.  After the first cracked cake, I went back to figure out how I could possibly avoid that.  I wondered if I had used a  bad recipe or if I had somehow done something wrong. Turns out I did neither, but there is a trick or two to be had.  First of all, ALWAYS use parchment on the bottom of your pan.  Once I did that, the cakes came out so beautifully, and I mean by both coming out of the pan wonderfully and with a beautifully light brown color. Secondly, "thunk" your batter-filled pan on the counter once or twice before you actually put it in the oven.  Why, you ask?  So did I.  The answer to that is that it helps to settle your batter a little more evenly and eliminate any air bubbles that might be lurking below the surface to cause those cracks.  Once I started "thunking" I never had another cracked cake.  My way of "thunking" was to pick up the filled pan and then drop it onto the counter from about an inch or two.  

After heating, you gotta
Once my cakes were baked and in the freezer, I baked another set of the smallest tier for the bride and groom to taste-test.  I had already researched the filling (they wanted Bavarian Cream) and the frostings that I was going to use.  We all agreed that the filling needed just a  bit more vanilla, and I made two different icings for them to try.  I frosted one half of the cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream and the other half with a Wedding Cake Meringue.  In what was a truly monumental moment of "I've totally got to sit down for this one," Seth and Sadie agreed on the frosting. HOW did that happen?  I was stunned, and so was Mr. Scrappin.  Of course the soon-to-be newlyweds just laughed.  Best of all, they both loved the cake and thought it was nice and moist and that the filling would be perfect once I added that extra bit of vanilla. Hooray, the decisions were made and the rest of the caking (is that a word) would be easy sailing.  Hopefully.

Since they got married on September 7th, which was yesterday, by the way, I took Friday afternoon off from work to start the finaling of the cake.  Cakes were removed from the freezer and allowed to thaw a little bit.  The crumb coating was done and, let me tell you, this really IS an important step!  Basically, crumb coating is where a thin layer of icing is applied to the top and sides of the cake so that that icing traps the crumbs.  After the crumb coating is done, the cake is then refrigerated for about half an hour so that the icing adheres well.  Once that's done, it's actually pretty smooth sailing for the rest of the process.  If this step is done correctly, the final layer of icing will be crumb-free and beautiful.  Although I've never done that step before, I will never NOT do it again.  It was so amazing to me to realize how much of a difference it really does make.

Filled with Bavarian Cream and
second layer added.
Now that all the crumb coating was finished and the cakes were in the refrigerator (the largest ones were in the freezer because I hadn't yet cleaned out the fridge), I made the filling.  The recipe I found was astonishingly simple and so yummy.  The Bavarian Cream came out silky and tasty; the only alteration I made was to add an extra teaspoon of vanilla. I'm thinking that the reason it needed more was because the actual recipe called for vanilla bean, which I didn't have and that the vanilla extract just wasn't as potent.  But the recipe itself, which I found at Joe Pastry, was fantastic.  Everyone that tasted the cake loved it, as did the wedding reception guests.  That made me feel really good!  I will definitely use this as my go to recipe! Once the Bavarian Cream was made and cooled, I started filling the cake, leaving about one-half inch along the sides so the filling would not seep out.  That, too, is something I read in my research.  When I was reading it, I wondered what the point of that would be, but as I was actually putting it into practice, it became very obvious - when you put that second layer on, it's heavy enough to spread the filling out a little.  DUH.  DOUBLE DUH!  You would think I'd have figured that out on my own, right?  Nope.

Cakes filled, frosted and ready for boxing
and transport.
With the filling on and the additional layers added to each bottom, it was time to frost the cake.  Now, I really have to know, is there a difference between frosting and icing? Because I use them interchangeably all the time and I truly do not know if one term is more proper than the other. Help me here, peeps!  You know how I rely on you all!  Frosting the cake was kind of an interesting process for me.  Since I was doing the meringue icing that Seth and Sadie had chosen, there was a fine line of not letting it be in the refrigerator for too long and not leaving it out too long.  I think I did fairly well, but there was much trial and error and THANK GOODNESS I had done this trial and error on the test cakes or this could have been a disaster! That being said, it was still a little tricky getting the final product to look the way I wanted it to, and I didn't quite accomplish that the way I was hoping.  I did the best I could, but I couldn't get it to be completely and professionally smooth.  It ended up being a sort of combination of rough and smooth at the same time.  Only me, folks, only me!

Ribbon and flowers for the cake.
A lovely combination.
Sadie had given me an idea of what she wanted her cake to look like, so I tried to stay as close as possible to the simplicity of it, but I didn't want to copy-cat someone else's cake. I think that wedding cakes are a greatly personal thing and I think every bride should have an original one, not a clone of someone else's.  With that, I got some ribbon and some silk flowers and began to make my plan.  A very simple plan, since neither Seth nor Sadie wanted something fancy.  Their color scheme was purple and yellow, and I was able to find what I thought was a good combination of the flowers and ribbon.  Before transporting, I did attach the ribbon to the layers it was going on, but I did not do the flowers until AFTER transporting. I was really afraid of the transporting process anyway, and I just had this nightmare vision of globby cakes everywhere with sticky, ugly, mangled flowers.  It scared the frosting right out of me!

The cake all put together.  You can actually
see the groom on the topper in this picture. 
Saturday came and it was time to transport the cake.  Oh, holy cake topper, was I scared to death!  There were four tiers to be transported and, during my research, I read several sites on how to transport the cake, but I just could not bring myself to do it like that. I cannot even begin to tell you the terror I felt here.  I am nowhere near a professional baker and this was my first ever wedding cake.  I made several errors throughout the process and thankfully fixed them, but the transport really bothered me.  For that to even make any sense to you, you would have to realize that in addition to the nervousness of wanting it to be beautiful and edible for them, our driveway is NOT conducive to transporting something so fragile.  We have a gully in the bottom that you get stuck in when it snows and it really does go uphill both ways, with a double winding near the top.  And with the several (and by several I mean five) lightning and rain storms we've had over the last month, it was even more washed out than it was before. Scary.  I could just picture the tiers sliding all over.  Even though I had boxed them up, I was scared out of my mind. Mr. Scrappin drove down the driveway at a snail's pace and we finally made it to the road.  Then he drove the away-from-the middle of town way and it took us what seemed like forever.  But, when we arrived and I opened the trunk, I was so happy!  It was still the way it was supposed to be! HALLELUJAH!

Although the picture is crooked, the cake
really is upright and straight!
Now, let's get it from the trunk to the house in the rain.  Oh yeah, that was fun.  Fortunately, Mr. Scrappin   did that part too, and as he brought each tier in, he stacked it for me.  I had already done all the doweling before we packed the cakes so that all I would have to do is layer, do a little touch-up and add the flowers and topper.  Oh happy day that it all turned out alright! I did have a little bit of an attack when the bride's little brother plopped down right at the table the cake was sitting on and the entire cake shook.  I just knew it was going to go tumbling down.  After about three plops, he realized I was turning a little green and asked me if I was ok.  LOL!  Intuitive little guy.

Seth & Sadie cutting the cake. Thank goodness
 it  didn't fall over!
As the reception got underway, we had a lot of fun visiting, eating, and taking pictures.  Of course the pictures are a requirement, right?  After a while, Sadie came over and asked if we could bring the cake out of the house and put it onto a table outside. PANIC CITY!  I really was not sure that it would survive the trip outside at this point.  Mr. Scrappin and I both declined to attempt the move, so her grandfather and her mother brought it out. The table they set it on was already sinking into a muddy spot (remember, it was raining when we first arrived) and was leaning.  Great; my vision was going to come true.  When they set it down, you could see that it was starting to lean and I was praying to myself that it wouldn't topple over onto Sadie's beautiful dress.  Oh heck, I could so see that happening!  The angels were still with me because that didn't happen.  

Seth and Sadie cut the cake, with the usual smearing of it onto each other and then it was time to serve it.  I did get a lot of compliments, which I greatly appreciated since it is by no means professional looking, but all I could really think at that point was, THANK GOD IT'S OVER and LET THEM EAT CAKE!!!!

Cake Pans by Wilton; Cake boards and boxes by Sunny Side Up Bakery; Silk Flowers and Ribbon by Michael's Stores; Cake Topper by Wilton.


  1. Oh my goodness! You worked so hard, and it paid off. Thanks for linking up to Tickled Pink Times Two.
    Make it a pink day :)

  2. It only paid off because the cake didn't fall in. LOLOL!

  3. Wow! You did an amazing job! I would be so nervous making a wedding cake!

  4. Thank you so much Tonia! You have no idea how much I appreciate your kind comment! I was scared to death the whole time. I don't know how the professional bakers and decorators can be so calm.

  5. You did a great job with the wedding cake!! Looks wonderful!

    1. Thank you so much, Maria. I'm still having flashbacks of the almost tipping over. LOL! It was a very good experience though. Thanks so much for coming by; please come back soon to visit.

  6. Wow Toodie..your cake is amazing. I am intrigue with your Bavarian cream..You are such a gem!

    1. Thank you so much! The Bavarian Cream was really so easy, thanks to the detailed directions provided. I will confess that I ended up with a little extra and ate it the next day for breakfast. :)

  7. Oh my, your cake is fantastic. I am not capable of doing this, it surely would have toppled over, that is if I could have gotten past getting the icing on (sorry, don't know if there is a difference?)
    Thanks for your sweet comment on my MIM project
    Hugs, antonella :-)

  8. Antonella, let me tell you, if I can do it, YOU can do it. Really! I think I was blessed by the cake fairies that it didn't fall over, because I just kept waiting for it!!!

  9. Wow, that cake is amazing. I bet it was delicious too.

  10. Oh, thank you so much Shannah! I will admit that it was so moist and delicious! Thank you so much for coming by; please come back again!